The fine arts program plays a large role in contributing to a student’s enjoyment throughout the school year. The Lamar Choir is no different as there’s always a smile, laugh or joke filling the gaps in rehearsal. Students in the choir give their thanks to the directors Greg Haugen and Cassandra Kirby.
While a director’s main goal is to conduct a choir and put together a successful musical piece, individuals sometimes fail to realize the work that goes into creating a concert. Planning dates, rehearsal times, transportation and managing financial accounts are among some of the many responsibilities required of Haugen and Kirby. Haugen said the choir’s booster club is a huge help in putting together the nitty-gritty details.
“Part of what I do is finding pieces of music that fits well with the choir,” Haugen said. “First thing, I have to know the choir. After that, it’s a lot of listening, research, and actually trying the music out. Even then, Ms. Kirby and I may choose a piece that we really like only to try it out and find that it’s not really the one.”
The choir department also provides students with a comfortable environment to spend their class periods, rehearsals or lunches. Many days, students are allowed time to talk prior to rehearsal and, if there is time, after rehearsal as well. Senior Hannah Head compares the relationships she’s made in choir to family and the free time in rehearsal to a breath of fresh air.
“I love the community in the program,” Senior Anka Oberhelman said. “A lot of my long-lasting friendships came from choir, and unlike a lot of my other classes, I feel excited to walk into rehearsal. I know I’m going to have a good time, even if the rest of my day has been underwhelming.”
Over the years, Haugen said one of his proudest moments as a director was seeing his students overcome lost time during COVID-19. Students were not singing together, and students had to relearn a lot of habits necessary to singing. Haugen and Kirby rebuilt the program while still keeping traditions past choir director Toni Worley had in place. Haugen said that by keeping these traditions, the choir is also keeping a piece of Worley with them.
“It’s a blessing to be that person that hopefully is encouraging others to sing,” Haugen said. “It brings lots of joy to my life, to others, and to those who sing. Lamar students are incredibly resilient and very strong. Some would say their Viking fight never dies.”